While attending the 2018 Charleston Library Conference, Taylor & Francis joined forces with other leading industry experts to present a lively lunch on November 8th titled, “The eBook Story: The Key to a Happy Ending.” Several Taylor & Francis team members were in attendance, and we’ve got the low-down on all the key takeaways for you right here.
What are the advantages of eBooks?
Panel members on this lively lunch session discussed important advantages of eBooks like convenience and flexibility. They asserted that eBooks allow access on all devices which further enables discovery and access from any location. Utilizing eBooks instead of physical books also save libraries a ton of space. Another reason eBooks are a key to a happy ending is that they will never be misplaced like physical print books often are.
eBooks make it is easy to download either a portion or an entire book. eBooks are also easily searchable which is a very important tool for students and researchers. eBooks are discoverable from anywhere at any time and that is why eBooks are a key to a happy ending.
Denise Branch, Interim Head, Metadata and Discovery, from Virginia Commonwealth University mentioned that today Virginia Commonwealth University has more than 1 million eBooks.
What are the disadvantages of eBooks?
Although eBooks have many advantages, this session also covered various challenges of having eBooks such as Metadata and management. Metadata is necessary for discovery and access. Data can be incorrect, incomplete, and lack quality. Management of eBooks can also be challenging, as it is difficult and time consuming. Library staff are responsible for cataloging, activating, maintaining, and checking up on issues with eBooks. Manual updating is not sustainable and there is often not enough staff within an institution’s library to maintain eBooks to their full capability.
Discovery is also a major issue with eBooks, according to librarians. It can be very difficult and time consuming to learn new discovery tools when each provider offers different tools. These differences and inconsistencies are the cause of many challenges and frustrations for users within the library. Discovery issues negatively impact usability, which leads many users to turn to Google for their research. This results in even lower usage of the eBooks a library provides its users, and many libraries end up cancelling their subscriptions due to the low usage.
Anything else I should know?
The audience members at this lively lunch session were very engaged. They participated in a fun sticky note activity during which they wrote advantages and challenges they face when dealing with eBooks. The results were very informative and extremely consistent with the information that the panel had already shared concerning both advantages and disadvantages with eBooks. Audience members continued asking questions to the panel members, and there was visible concern and interest in exactly how a library should go about deciding on the ratio of eBooks to print they should keep in their collection.
Sticky Note Activity
Panelists from Lively Lunch
Left to Right: Katy Aronoff (Ex Libris) , Evelyn Elias (Taylor & Francis), Denise Branch
(Virginia Commonwealth University), Emma Waecker (EBSCO Information Services)
Conference attendees stopped by the Taylor & Francis table
in the Exhibitor Hall to talk with sales representatives,
learn about products, and collect giveaways.